Looking up at the end of 2020

Some thoughts on the hope of Christmas, and I share shorts from my friends in the Christian Podcasters Association.

But the angel said to them, “Do not be afraid. I bring you good news that will cause great joy for all the people.” Luke 2:10

Several friends eager to run into the New Year have asked me, “Do you have your word for 2021?” Actually, I don’t have a single word. I have a phrase from the song O Holy Night. The soaring, triumphant anthem for a world so drained and exhausted that it knows our only hope is to look up.

I imagine us all on our knees, weak and heavy, turning just enough to catch a furtive glance of someone moving. Emmanuel, our Savior. God with us. But He’s not what we expected! What is this? He’s just a baby! We need a king! We run after the tangible but fleeting hope of humans and human systems that can only offer the illusion of security. The promise of rest never realized.


One night in a small town, a lonely couple with nowhere to go settles among the animals and lays their newborn in a manger. As the baby cries his first breaths, the sky grows bright over the hill country. Startled shepherds rise to investigate, then fall back to the ground in awe and wonder. The light and the sound of the angels’ song is nearly too much to bear. With their heads still pressed to the ground, they turn just enough to glimpse the heavenly choir. Gasping for breath, overwhelmed. Praises tumble from their lips as a thrill of hope invigorates their souls.

Through the years, the angels’ praise continues. But our jaded, impatient world, discontent and numb, marches on from season to season. Have we lost enough strength to fall to our knees? It’s the weary world that rejoices. The weary world suspects we were meant for more. The rest of Bethlehem went about its business that night. But the baby’s exhausted parents and the shepherds; they were the ones who noticed. It was the weary ones on their knees that gained that thrill of hope.

The truth of Christmas is that we cannot save ourselves.
The promise of Christmas is that God loved us so completely that He sent His son to save us.

“The thrill of hope, the weary world rejoices, for yonder breaks a new and glorious morn.” – O Holy Night

He wrapped us in a starry sky, calling us to look up. He gave His only son to us. Wonderful Counselor. Prince of Peace. The government shall be upon His shoulders, and of His kingdom, there shall be no end.

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This year has been challenging, but not without hope. Weary ones, may this week of in-between be filled with the wonder of Christ’s birth and the thrill of hope that only He can bring.


I’m sharing short takes from my friends in the Christian Podcasters Association. Here are the links to their podcasts:

Letters from Home Podcast, by Meg Glesener

Life, Repurposed Podcast, by Michelle Rayburn

Truce Podcast, by Chris Staron

Moments with Moni Podcast, by Monika Hardy

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